Antisocial booze-fuelled behaviour banned at bowls clubs

A new code of conduct has been sent to bowls clubs in Shropshire after a series of incidents involving alcohol and hooliganism around the greens.

Members of the Shropshire Crown Green Bowls Association have been sent a new code of conduct after measures to crack down on alcohol-induced antisocial behaviour were approved at its AGM, held on 5 February.

Both players and spectators can now expect lengthly bans if they engage in “verbal and physical abuse including swearing, shouting and threatening behaviour”.

Incidents have included Welsh teams being referred to as ‘sheep shaggers,’ players swearing at officials and players being mocked about their weight.

Outgoing county president Mike Caddick said: “The 2017 season saw an increase in anti-social behaviour around the greens.

“It started to creep in a bit last year, mostly among spectators. They were being over-enthusiastic mainly as a result of alcohol.

“Alcohol-fuelled spectators were becoming the norm and I heard people saying ‘we don’t want this in bowls’ no end of times”.

He said that following a disciplinary meeting last year, one player was banned for four years following an incident.

“The individual we banned for four years turned up several times and disrupted proceedings,” he said.

Commenting on the nature of the abuse, he added: “It’s usually derogatory to the actual player, if a player is overweight it’s a nice one to pick on, if they are Welsh it’s usually some mention of sheep”.

According to the association, “appeals will be heard on payment of £50, which will be refunded if the appeal is successful, by a disciplinary subcommittee”.

Shropshire is not the only region to be affected by disruptive drunken behaviour at bowls clubs. A lawn bowls club New Zealand was recently taken over after neighbours complained about drunk and disorderly patrons, violence and public urination, with the police describing it as “operating as a tavern”.

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